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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump"

Huh: Share of Americans who think government is most important problem reaches record high

Westlake Legal Group p Huh: Share of Americans who think government is most important problem reaches record high Trump The Blog tea party Small Shutdown most important gridlock Government gallup

In the 55 years that Gallup has been tracking “government” as an option when it asks what the most important problem facing the country is, not once had the share who gave that answer reached 35 percent. Not during Watergate, not during the Reagan-era backlash to big government, not during the tea-party fad. Never.

Until now.

Five years ago a younger, more naive me would have treated this as evidence that Americans want to shrink the federal leviathan. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Westlake Legal Group g-2 Huh: Share of Americans who think government is most important problem reaches record high Trump The Blog tea party Small Shutdown most important gridlock Government gallup

Amazing. Consider all of the recent history that graph covers — the public’s turn against the Iraq war, the financial-sector bailout after the market crash, Obama’s election, ObamaCare, Congress changing hands twice, the rise of Trump. Never through all that did the average percentage listing government as the country’s most pressing problem crack 22 percent, let alone touch the 32 percent we’re at now. How could that be given the anti-government fever of the tea-party years?

Simple, says Gallup. The “problems” people think of when they complain about government have to do with its ability to function, not its size: “Roughly half of Republicans, Democrats and independents who say the government is the most important problem point to gridlock, lack of bipartisanship, both parties or other general concerns about the way government is operating.” Follow the link and eyeball the third graph, which shows the percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and independents since February of last year who think government is the country’s biggest problem. Given the continued growth in spending, you might expect Republican discontent to at least match that of Democrats. Nope. The share of Dems has exceeded the share of Republicans in each of the past 12 months, sometimes doubling the percentage of the “small-government party.” (Independents have frequently, although not always, rated government as the most important problem more than Republicans have as well.) Only this month have the two parties reached near-parity, and it’s easy to see why. The shutdown has embittered both sides, with righties suddenly furious at the new Democratic roadblock to Trump’s agenda in Congress.

What’s driving the current historic discontent with government, in other words, isn’t government doing too much but government briefly doing too little. What the graph above really shows, I think, is the growth of hyper-partisanship over time, such that gridlock and temporary paralysis over the wall momentarily left frustration with government superheated. Dems hate Trump, Republicans hate Pelosi and the Democratic House, and so the feeling that government is our biggest problem skyrockets. In fact, before now, only once before since 2001 did the share of the public that feels that way crack 30 percent. That was … during the 2013 shutdown.

You’re left to wonder what would happen to these numbers if Trump suddenly resorted to his pre-2015 political identity of a centrist dealmaker. If he huddled with Pelosi and Schumer and agreed to $2.2 trillion in infrastructure spending, say — an amount equivalent to 10 percent of the national debt — is there any doubt that the overall share of Americans that believes government is the most important problem would go down? Is there much doubt that it would drop even among Republicans? Really what we’re looking at in Gallup’s data is a pithy explanation of how Trump won the presidency in the first place. If Republicans believed government was America’s most pressing problem for the same reasons Reagan did, he never would have been nominated. But they don’t. So he was.

The post Huh: Share of Americans who think government is most important problem reaches record high appeared first on Hot Air.

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Can McConnell block Congress from canceling Trump’s emergency declaration?

Westlake Legal Group mm-1 Can McConnell block Congress from canceling Trump’s emergency declaration? wall Trump The Blog rubio republican pelosi paul National mcconnell emergency Declaration border

I’m not asking that question rhetorically. I don’t know the answer and would be eager to hear from procedural experts about Susan Ferrechio’s read on the rule here, even though it’s a near-cinch that the push from Congress to stop Trump will collapse before it reaches the stage she describes.

To refresh your memory: Trump declared a national emergency at the border last week that empowers him to seize Pentagon money to start building the border wall. Under the law, Congress can cancel an emergency declaration by passing a joint resolution. A joint resolution needs only a simple majority to make it through the Senate — no filibusters allowed! — and if it passes the House then it must come to a vote in the upper chamber. McConnell can’t block it like he can most other legislation. All of which means we’re about to see the Democratic House pass a resolution rebuking Trump and then, due to opposition to the emergency decree among some Senate Republicans, the Senate’s going to pass it too. Congress, which seems unable to agree on anything else of import, really is about to pull it together and try to shut down the president on his declaration of emergency.

But that’s half the battle. Trump will veto the joint resolution, forcing the House and Senate to try to muster two-thirds majorities in each chamber to override that veto and force an end to the state of emergency. Ferrechio’s question is simple: Although McConnell has no choice but to hold a Senate vote on the original joint resolution, does he have a choice on whether to hold that second vote to override Trump’s veto? As best she can tell, the answer’s yes. He can block the override attempt even though he couldn’t block a vote on the underlying legislation.

“Nothing in the Constitution requires that either chamber vote directly on the question of repassing a vetoed bill,” the Congressional Research Service reported in 2015, referring to a vote to override a veto. “If either chamber fails to vote on the question, then the measure dies.”…

A McConnell spokesperson declined to speculate on how McConnell might act at any point in the process.

Let’s say that’s true. How would it change the strategic calculus for Senate Republicans and for McConnell himself? My guess is that if Senate R’s know up front that McConnell will roadblock any attempt to override Trump’s veto then they’ll be more likely to vote against Trump on the initial vote on the joint resolution. They’ll reason that MAGA Nation won’t fault them for trying to stop Trump from building the wall so long as they don’t actually succeed. If they want to vote no on the emergency decree ineffectually, to virtue-signal to swing voters back home, fine. Trump can veto that, then McConnell can block the override, and construction on the wall will proceed.

The tricky part, though, is making sure that the vote on the joint resolution doesn’t attract so many Republican voters that it actually clears the bar for the two-thirds majority. If that happened, it would be big news and would suddenly put a lot of pressure on McConnell to hold a second vote to override Trump’s veto. After all, if the joint resolution passes with, say, 55 votes, Cocaine Mitch could cite that fact as a reason not to bother with the override vote. “We’re nowhere near the 67 votes needed to override. It’d be a waste of time to vote.” But if they get 67 votes on the joint resolution? What’s his excuse for not holding the override vote then?

I think he and the caucus would huddle before the vote on the joint resolution and try to find an agreeable number of Republican defectors, somewhere well short of 67, so that he’s not under pressure to hold a second vote after the veto. If, say, 13 Republicans told him that they really want to oppose Trump on the emergency decree, that might be acceptable to him. Then those 13 could register their dissent formally in the first vote, bringing the number of opponents to the emergency up to 60 (assuming all Democrats vote no as well). “Sixty just isn’t close enough to two-thirds to justify an override vote,” McConnell would say afterward. And that would be that.

On the other hand, if McConnell knows that an override vote is destined to fail then … why not hold it? He’s facing his own election next year in Kentucky. Why take the onus for protecting Trump onto himself if he knows for a fact that there isn’t a two-thirds majority in the Senate to cancel the emergency declaration? He could hold the vote, watch it fail, then shrug and forget the whole thing. He has no incentive to block the vote unless it might actually succeed, and if it might actually succeed then there’ll be lots of pressure on him not to block it.

So under what circumstances does he actually step in and protect Trump here? Hard to say.

Doesn’t matter, either. It’s almost impossible to imagine to imagine a scenario in which 20 Republicans muster the nerve to join in a successful override of Trump’s veto. Which Senate GOPer would choose to piss off Trump’s base for all eternity by agreeing to become the 67th vote to stop him from building the farking border wall? It’s inconceivable. It means an almost guaranteed primary challenge. I can picture something like 64 or 65 override votes materializing, but once you get close to 67 the undecideds will get a lot more nervous about joining the majority. Does anyone think Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton, both of whom are eyeing 2024, would declare war on Republican populists by becoming the 67th vote to nuke Trump’s wall authority? C’mon.

And besides: To even reach the point where we’re talking Senate overrides, Pelosi would need to somehow muster a two-thirds majority in the House. That would require no fewer than 53 Republican votes at a moment when there aren’t a ton of purple-district R’s left. Where is she getting those 53 from? Nate Silver and Perry Bacon framed the dilemma for congressional Republicans this way in a piece today: “[T]he president, by issuing this declaration, has forced his party into what amounts to a loyalty test — will they stand with him, even if it means abandoning some of their long-held concerns about executive overreach?” That’s right, and that’s exactly how Trump’s base will see it. Why would any Republican choose to become the decisive vote on a “loyalty test”?

Exit quotation from Stephen Miller:

The post Can McConnell block Congress from canceling Trump’s emergency declaration? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump: How do networks get away with Republican hit jobs like SNL without retribution?

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I’m repeating a point from December but I still can’t believe this lame show is the one that reliably angers him to the point of chattering publicly about censorship. It’d be like Nixon freaking out over a parody on “Hee Haw.” Here he was two months ago, around the time the shutdown began…

…and here he is two months later, the border-wall standoff with Congress now finally over:

Among the oceans of anti-Trump commentary on television, somehow it’s Alec Baldwin scrunching up his face and doing a bad Trump impersonation that drives the president to distraction.

I don’t think the criticism from SNL bothers him because it’s wounding, actually, I think it bothers him because he considers it “disloyal.” They invited him to host in the thick of the 2016 primaries, didn’t they? They were “friends.” And now they stab him in the back every week. It’s the same reason why CNN gets under his skin more than MSNBC does. Jeff Zucker helped make Trump a TV star during his tenure at NBC, then helped him win the Republican nomination with nonstop coverage on CNN in 2015-16, and now … all CNN does is bash the guy. Traitor. Someone should “look into” that for “collusion” or something.

A few years ago, when it was still unclear how intently he’d push as president to try to regulate the media, today’s tweet would have caused consternation. Is this a “take him literally but not seriously” deal or a “seriously if not literally” one? But at this “limp caudillo” stage of his presidency, to borrow Ross Douthat’s term, it’s hard to get exercised. He might sincerely want to investigate NBC for “collusion” because they keep writing nasty jokes about him but he’s not going to do anything about it and he’d doubtless botch the effort if he tried, like waiting to try to fund the wall until Republicans had lost control of the House. “Retribution” against SNL is in the “neither seriously nor literally” column even if he meant every word.

In fairness to him, though, late-night television in 2019 is an unspeakably dreary, and lazy, monotony. Maybe the DOJ could come up with a creative antitrust argument to limit each show to no more than 85 percent #Resistance “clapter” material. Exit question: How would a Fairness Doctrine for comedy even work? Would Lorne Michaels be required by law to bring Dennis Miller back and let him do a 45-minute “Weekend Update”?

The post Trump: How do networks get away with Republican hit jobs like SNL without retribution? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Former border super-hawk Kirsten Gillibrand: Sure, I could support tearing down some border fencing

Westlake Legal Group kg Former border super-hawk Kirsten Gillibrand: Sure, I could support tearing down some border fencing wall Trump The Blog immigration hawk gillibrand border blue dog

Let this serve as your daily reminder that she is, in fact, The WorstWestlake Legal Group 2122 Former border super-hawk Kirsten Gillibrand: Sure, I could support tearing down some border fencing wall Trump The Blog immigration hawk gillibrand border blue dog   . I don’t use the term “border super-hawk” lightly either but she earned it for her approach to immigration as a young Blue Dog Dem representing a conservative district in upstate New York 10 years ago. In some alternate reality she never got appointed to the Senate and is currently Trump’s most hardcore Democratic backer in the House, pissing off progressives by backing him to the hilt on the wall.

Nah, I’m just kidding. A Twitter pal is right that she would have been wiped away as part of the big red wave of 2010. Instead we’re stuck in this reality, where she’s a pretend leftist who’s headed for one percent of the vote in the Democratic primaries. That’s the only consolation in watching this clip. Beto really might support open borders on the merits but Gillibrand’s simply saying the most expedient thing she can say, as she does at every moment. If a miracle occurred to make her the nominee and she suddenly had to face a purplish national electorate, she’d drop her open-borders stance as quickly as she dropped her strong-borders stance before.

Speaking of centrists and the Democratic primaries, Howard Schultz somehow figured out a way to get the left to hate him even more, a feat I would not have guessed was possible:

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate…

A more moderate Democratic nominee, such as former vice president Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, could complicate Schultz’s perceived path to victory.

“I would reassess the situation if the numbers change as a result of a centrist Democrat winning the nomination,” Schultz said.

Having an independent run by Schultz scare Democratic primary voters into supporting a centrist as party nominee is the worst-case scenario for progressives, I assume. If they had to choose between, say, a binary Biden-versus-Trump race and a three-way contest between Bernie Sanders, Trump, and Schultz, I think they’d take the latter. At least in the second situation they get a nominee about whom they’re truly excited and who would push the country much further left if elected. And there’s no guarantee that Schultz would, as most pundits expect, end up pulling more votes from Sanders than from Trump. He *might* benefit Democrats by jumping in and stealing some center-right votes from suburbanites who dislike Trump but would otherwise prefer him to the Democratic candidate. Schultz is doing what little he can here to push them towards their least favorite outcome.

And when I say “little,” I do mean little. Very, very little.

Exit question: Has Open-Borders Beto finally decided to jump in? Sure sounds like it.

The post Former border super-hawk Kirsten Gillibrand: Sure, I could support tearing down some border fencing appeared first on Hot Air.

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Jim Acosta: The children of Angel Moms were “allegedly” killed by illegal immigrants

Westlake Legal Group j-1 Jim Acosta: The children of Angel Moms were “allegedly” killed by illegal immigrants white house Trump The Blog jim acosta immigrants illegal CNN angel mom

Via the Free Beacon, should we cut him some slack here and chalk it up to an innocent misstatement in the moment? The reason I ask is because, as you’ll see in the second clip below, he went on to interview an Angel Mom on air after Trump’s press conference and was cordial to her, allowing her to name her son and specify that he was killed by an illegal. “In terms of all of us here at CNN, our hearts go out to them,” he stressed.

Although … perhaps there’s more to that cordiality than might at first appear:

Did he have any choice but to interview them after Trump made a point of referencing them in his reply to Acosta at today’s presser?

“Allegedly” is an interesting mistake too given that Jim Sciutto made the same “mistake” today, reportedly referring to the moms at one point as “mothers who lost children, or alleged to have lost children to undocumented immigrants in this country.”

Maybe this is standard journalistic practice for CNN. When you haven’t verified a fact personally, you emphasize that it’s “alleged” no matter what it applies to. That’s fine if so, but that rule would be so difficult to follow uniformly in practice that it’s bound to be violated in hundreds of innocent, and maybe less innocent, ways each day. Is it fair for CNN to refer to Howard Schultz as a billionaire if no one at the network has inspected his financials firsthand? And yet they do so routinely, I’m sure.

This is likely more a function of the network’s bottomless skepticism towards Trump than towards Angel Moms specifically. They’ve probably concluded at this point that literally nothing he says or does should be taken at face value, including his invited guests at a presidential announcement. So they dropped an “allegedly” on Angel Moms even though there’s no question, of course, that American citizens have lost loved ones to murders or accidents caused by illegal immigrants.

The post Jim Acosta: The children of Angel Moms were “allegedly” killed by illegal immigrants appeared first on Hot Air.

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Coulter: The true national emergency is that Trump is an idiot

Westlake Legal Group c-3 Coulter: The true national emergency is that Trump is an idiot Trump The Blog primary national emergency idiot coulter

Via the Daily Beast, the time for talk is over. Is she going to primary him or not?

Is there another right-wing populist of any renown in the entire United States willing to make an argument like this?

You ain’t hearing that on Rush and Hannity, I promise. Only Coulter will hold him to account.

I mean, the White House is practically daring her to run:

Of course, Coulter’s also taken to calling people stupid who are defending Trump on this deal, which … might hurt her chances of cutting into his base in a primary:

He signed the bill at a little after 2 p.m. ET today. It’d be a perfect moment for her to declare that she’s in! Plus, she does try to make amends to Trumpers somewhat at the end of the clip below after having spent most of the last few days calling them chumps, acknowledging that he’s done very well in appointing judges. In theory she could cite that as a reason not to run — “he’s been good on other stuff.” But if she did it would destroy the message she’s been pushing day in and day out since the shutdown began that only the wall matters in the end. Judges, deregulation, tax cuts: All fine, but if the country’s being overrun in slow motion by illegal invaders, none of it matters long-term. Shutting the border is the one thing he absolutely must do, and according to Coulter, his decision today to sign the bill now makes it impossible for him to do so. So why doesn’t she run? Is she going to let him get away with this?

The post Coulter: The true national emergency is that Trump is an idiot appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump on emergency decree: I didn’t need to do this, I just wanted to build the wall faster

Westlake Legal Group t-16 Trump on emergency decree: I didn’t need to do this, I just wanted to build the wall faster Trump The Blog immigration faster emergency declare border amnesty

I’m imagining Andrew McCabe watching this clip, having just spent a day being told that the 25th Amendment should be reserved for cases of mental incompetence, and thinking, “Exactly.”

We don’t need to get into why this is a damaging thing for him to admit, right? We all graduated from fourth grade. Suffice it to say, George Conway’s probably correct that “I didn’t need to do this” will be the first line of every complaint filed in court against Trump’s emergency declaration.

There are two ways a court might attack his new executive order. One is on the law, imposing some sort of constitutional limit on the president’s power to declare emergencies when it’s clear that Congress opposes him doing so. The other is on the facts, i.e. even assuming for argument’s sake that the president can declare an emergency over Congress’s objection, the particular facts in this case don’t support the finding that an emergency exists. Courts prefer not to issue sweeping rulings about constitutional powers if they can avoid it, so now that Trump’s handed them a handy factual argument against his case — by his own admission the situation at the border wasn’t so urgent that he had no choice but to act when he did — they’ll probably rule against him on those grounds instead of on separation-of-powers grounds.

But we’ll see. Philip Klein thinks Trump’s point about speed in the clip can be used to bolster his emergency case. If it wasn’t an emergency, he wouldn’t be in a hurry, right? I think that’s undermined by the part where Trump says he “didn’t need to do this” but certainly Klein’s take is how the DOJ will try to spin the comment.

Why did Trump declare an emergency, anyway, when he might have achieved the same thing by using other forms of executive action and thereby avoided an attempt by Congress to override his declaration? This line from WaPo stopped me cold: “Yet for Trump, the negotiations were never really about figuring out how to win. They were about figuring out how to lose — and how to cast his ultimate defeat as victory instead.” I think that’s right. And if the point ultimately was more about saving face than securing a meaningful policy win, an emergency declaration does make more sense. It’s bold (“Trump liked the idea of declaring a national emergency because it’s the maximalist, most dramatic option,” notes Axios) and it reflects the right’s belief that illegal immigration is a genuine national crisis. Trump was afraid of looking weak in front of his base if he declined to choose the emergency route, notes a different WaPo story. Might as well go big. It’s not like the pipsqueaks in the Senate are going to vote to stop him.

There’s one glaring problem with an emergency decree, though, that Nate Silver noticed:

Westlake Legal Group n-1 Trump on emergency decree: I didn’t need to do this, I just wanted to build the wall faster Trump The Blog immigration faster emergency declare border amnesty

Silver’s been beating the drum for weeks now that Trump’s “all base, all the time” strategy is wrecking his chances of reelection. The reason is that the middle is the only slice of the electorate whose views of him ever change. The right loves him unconditionally and supports everything he does. (Sorry, Ann.) The left hates him just as unwaveringly. Follow the link to Silver’s post and you’ll find a table demonstrating just how rigid Trump’s approval was among Republicans and Democrats even during the shutdown. The only group where the needle ever moves is independents. If he can figure out a way to win more of them over, he’s suddenly in good shape for 2020. If instead he keeps doubling down on ideas that the right loves but which indies dislike, like an emergency decree to build the wall, he could be cooked. If righties outnumbered lefties in the electorate, victory might be a simple matter of turning out the base. But they don’t and it isn’t, as the midterms just proved. And no matter who Trump faces next year, that person’s bound to be a less juicy target for political attacks than Hillary Clinton was.

You don’t need to take it from Silver, though:

Follow the link in her tweet and read Walter’s piece about what Trump is up against in the midwest. The secret to his success in 2016, she notes, was much stronger enthusiasm among his fans than among Hillary’s plus feelings of ambivalence towards *both* nominees among less partisan voters. That enthusiasm gap will close next year thanks to Democrats’ eagerness to defeat him, though, and unpopular measures like an emergency decree for the wall do him no favors among the “ambivalent” segment. He’s governing as though his approval rating were 55 percent instead of 43. That’s the only explanation for why he’d wait until after his party lost total control of Congress to pick a fight on the wall, force an unpopular shutdown over it, prolong the political agony by giving Congress a few weeks to negotiate a deal that was bound to disappoint, and now finally resolve the standoff with an even more unpopular emergency decree. Even as a base strategy it’s failed. Some border hawks like Coulter are irate that he agreed to sign such a weak bill and some conservatives are irate at how he’s stepping on separation of powers. What a fiasco.

And the fact that it would end in a fiasco, if perhaps not this precise fiasco, was foreseeable from the start.

Here’s Trump giving Coulter the “Ann who?” treatment even though she helped write his immigration plan as a candidate. By the way, a bill is already brewing in the House that would overturn Trump’s emergency declaration. Guess who’s behind it.

The post Trump on emergency decree: I didn’t need to do this, I just wanted to build the wall faster appeared first on Hot Air.

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Coulter: Signing this bill will *weaken* Trump’s court case that there’s a national emergency at the border

Westlake Legal Group t-15 Coulter: Signing this bill will *weaken* Trump’s court case that there’s a national emergency at the border Trump The Blog separation of powers emergency decree Declaration court coulter bill

That’s a take, all right. I think there might be something to it.

I think there’s a pure separation-of-powers argument that signing the bill weakens his emergency case. An emergency logically involves a development that needs to be addressed immediately, before a slow-moving institution like the legislature can act. That’s why it’s always the executive, an individual actor, whom we rely on to address emergencies. The fact that Trump came to terms with Congress on an immigration package on the same day as his emergency decree, though, suggests that there’s no actual “emergency” in this case that requires him to act separately. He waited around while they negotiated. Congress could have appropriated the $5.7 billion he’s planning to take from the Pentagon in the new legislation. But it didn’t. If he declares an emergency simultaneously with the new compromise, he’s making it as clear as he possibly can via the timing that the emergency decree is nothing more than a mechanism by which to seize powers that Congress refused to grant him by law. It’s not an emergency, it’s a power grab.

Or, as a wise man once put it:

That’s not Coulter’s point, though. Remember, she’s argued that he has inherent authority as commander-in-chief to reprogram Pentagon money for the border in the name of national security. Her concern with the bill, I take it, is that it actually *softens* immigration enforcement in key ways — which of course the president should never let happen if we’re facing a true emergency. The most hair-raising provision is what Mickey Kaus has taken to calling a “Trafficker’s Amnesty.” Per Mark Krikorian:

[Under the bill] ICE cannot detain or remove anyone who has effectively any relationship with an “unaccompanied” minor — either because they’re sponsors, in the same household as sponsors, or even just “potential sponsors” (or in the household of potential sponsors!) of such a child.

There’s already a huge incentive to bring a child with you if you’re planning to infiltrate the border, because kids can’t be held more than 20 days, according to the Flores agreement, and we don’t separate parents from kids, so if you sneak across with a kid in tow, you’re released into the U.S.

The new provision would create an incentive for illegal aliens already here to order up kids from Central America as human shields against deportation.

Why would Trump sign that provision into law if he thinks illegal immigration is already at the “emergency” stage? Conceivably a judge would ask that question as part of an argument that, although Trump *might* in theory have the power to reprogram Pentagon money in the event of a true emergency, this ain’t a true emergency. There’s no need to wrestle with the separation-of-powers issues because his “emergency” is bogus on its face. He’d be better off in this scenario not signing the bill and citing the fact that it was weak on immigration enforcement as a key reason why in his defense to his emergency decree.

He hasn’t signed the bill yet as I write this at 7:20 ET. Maybe the last-minute pressure campaign by the likes of Coulter and Ingraham will convince him to tear it up and rely exclusively on an emergency declaration — although that’ll put him in the precarious position of facing a new shutdown for which he’ll be blamed and needing Nancy Pelosi’s help to avoid it. If only he hadn’t just spent a bunch of political capital on another pointless shutdown he might be able to weather one here. Oh well.

It’s almost a cinch, by the way, that there’ll be 51 votes in the Senate (as well as a majority in the House, of course) to try to rescind his emergency decree. Susan Collins already sounds like she’s a yes on that effort. He’ll veto that bill and it’s unlikely the Senate will override his veto, but it’ll be embarrassing to have majorities of both chambers against this idea. That also might come into play during the court battle — whatever else you want to say about this gambit, you won’t be able to say he had implied authority from Congress to do it. And judges won’t like that. In lieu of an exit question, via the Daily Beast, enjoy two clips of Shep Smith basically blaming Sean Hannity for egging Trump on to this outcome without explicitly naming Hannity, of course.

The post Coulter: Signing this bill will *weaken* Trump’s court case that there’s a national emergency at the border appeared first on Hot Air.

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McConnell: Trump will sign this terrible immigration bill — and also declare an emergency on the border

Westlake Legal Group t-14 McConnell: Trump will sign this terrible immigration bill — and also declare an emergency on the border wall Trump The Blog Shutdown ingraham immigration Government compromise border bill

Here we go.

The view earlier this afternoon on the populist right…

…and the view on the establishment right:

If Trump finds the bill objectionable, and there are various reasons why he might, he could always reject it and offer to sign a clean short-term funding bill to keep the government open while negotiations continue. But would Pelosi agree to that? She might say “take it or leave it.”

In which case, I assume, Trump would say “leave it,” offer to sign a clean long-term funding bill to avert a new shutdown, and remove the border-wall fight to court by declaring a national emergency. There’s really no reason not to at this point. His fans would love it if he rejected a bad border compromise, and he stands a chance of winning a court battle that would allow him to reappropriate Pentagon money. What does he gain by signing legislation that his base dislikes if he’s resolved to invoke some sort of executive authority and have a fight over the wall in court anyway?

Per CNN, he’s allegedly been complaining to staff that Republican negotiators in Congress got outmaneuvered by their Democratic counterparts. I’d say that the outmaneuvering began in 2017, when Trump failed to turn up the heat on the Republican-controlled Congress to fund the wall for him, but fair enough:

[P]rivately, Trump has cast the GOP’s dealmaking efforts as inadequate and wondered why he, an experienced dealmaker, wasn’t consulted at more regular intervals as the two sides haggled over an agreement. The White House acted largely on the sidelines while congressional negotiators struck a deal.

That was intentional, according to people familiar with the process, who noted Trump’s attempts at brokering an agreement between lawmakers proved futile during the record-length government shutdown that ushered in the new year…

“I pray” Trump signs the bill, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby told CNN Thursday.

He has a lot of nerve wondering why his mad negotiation skillz weren’t included in the process given that he’s tried and failed on this issue before and that he’s notoriously bad about changing his mind even after he seems to have staked out a position on an offer. Anyway, he seems convinced that his base will be okay with him signing the bill so long as it comes paired with an emergency declaration; after all, even though the legislation doesn’t deliver the $5.7 billion he’s seeking, he can get the rest that he needs from executive action. That’s not the chief problem that righties have with the bill today, though. (Right, Ann?) The problem is the Democratic goodies that were snuck in there, like the amnesty tidbit identified by CIS in the tweet above. He might win a court battle over the wall but if he signs the bill he’ll still be signing provisions like that one into law. This is why I say it’d make more sense to declare the whole immigration process over, offer a clean long-term funding bill, and have the wall fight in court. Why sign a bad bill if you don’t need to?

Democrats seem pretty chipper about the precedent an emergency declaration will set, meanwhile:

They might not need to pass the Green New Deal through Congress to get the Green New Deal implemented if Trump wins his court battle.

By the way, not every Democrat is voting for today’s bill. Some object to the fact that it … increases funding for Homeland Security. Guess who.

Update: Yup. The days of farting cows are over, my friends.

The idea of Trump declaring an emergency at the border also polled horribly throughout the shutdown, so at a minimum this should stop the recent rise in his approval rating, if not reverse it.

The post McConnell: Trump will sign this terrible immigration bill — and also declare an emergency on the border appeared first on Hot Air.

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Could Clarence Thomas step down this year? Should he?

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There’s no inkling here from Jeffrey Toobin that Thomas is thinking of resigning, only that some conservatives are chattering about it strategically. In fact, to the extent that Toobin’s aware of Thomas’s own inclinations, they point towards him staying.

But his argument is worth thinking about. Thomas is the oldest member of the Court’s conservative wing. If you’re worried about the White House changing hands in 2020, and you should be given that Trump’s ceiling on job approval seems to be in the low 40s, the price of Thomas passing on retirement now is potentially needing him to serve another full decade in order to have a Republican president appoint his successor. Which means you’re asking him to become the longest-serving justice in American history before he steps down.

With fifty-three Republicans now in the Senate (and no filibusters allowed on Supreme Court nominations), President Trump would have a free hand in choosing a dream candidate for his conservative base if Thomas were to retire this year. The summer of 2019 would seem an ideal time to add a third younger conservative to the Court (along with Neil Gorsuch, who is fifty-one, and Brett Kavanaugh, who is fifty-four). It’s true that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, would likely violate his Merrick Garland rule and try to push through a nominee in 2020, an election year, but 2019 would be much easier to navigate. So, many conservatives are asking, why shouldn’t Thomas leave now?…

But will Thomas retire? Over the years, he has made little secret of the fact that he doesn’t enjoy the job very much. With a conservative future of the Court secure, why wouldn’t he call it a day after twenty-eight years? Because, according to his friends, he feels an obligation to continue doing the job for as long as he is able, regardless of the political implications of his departure. Of course, no one except Thomas knows for sure what he will do, and that leaves his decision open to speculation.

Good point there about the urgency in Thomas leaving this year if he’s planning to quit rather than next year. McConnell has already hinted that he’ll break his own “Merrick Garland rule” by seeking to confirm a new justice in a presidential election year, but that hypocrisy will stink on ice. Even some of his own Republican colleagues feel bound by the 2016 precedent. If Thomas is thinking of going, it should be this year rather than next.

Thomas circa 2019 isn’t perfectly analogous to Ruth Bader Ginsburg circa 2015. Liberals have been grumbling since election night three years ago that RBG should have quit while Obama was in office rather than forge ahead in her 80s, with her health iffy, and trust that O would be succeeded in office by a Democrat. Now they’re on a knife’s edge, knowing that Ginsburg’s death would trigger a nuclear war over the Court’s future ideological balance. Thomas, however, isn’t in his 80s. He’s “only” 70 years old, younger than Ginsburg and Breyer despite the fact that he’s been on the Court longer than either. There’s no indication he’s in poor health. It’s quite possible that he’ll be able to serve another decade. And needless to say, he’s no squish jurisprudentially such that the idea of replacing him is attractive to righties. Trump’s not going to appoint anyone more conservative than Clarence Thomas.

But Ginsburg isn’t the only analog to consider. The man whom Thomas replaced, Thurgood Marshall, also tried to tough it out until his health failed him. The result was that he was forced from office when a Republican was in the White House, leaving Bush 41 to replace a liberal legend with one of the most devout conservatives ever to sit on the bench. If Thomas decides to journey on he runs the risk of a reprise in the opposite direction, with a Democratic president avenging Marshall by appointing a far-left justice to succeed Thomas. And it’s not as though leaning on him to retire now would be depriving him of a standard term on the Court. He’s been there 28 years, which places him in the top 20 percent of longest-serving justices in history.

So how lucky do you feel? Should he stay or go?

Toobin thinks it’s a fait accompli that Trump will appoint Amy Coney Barrett to succeed him. Eh. That’s how I’d bet if I had to bet, but appointing Barrett in this case would mean the Court would lack a black member for the first time since the civil rights era. Trump may have no choice, though: There are no young black conservative judges on the bench that I’m aware of who’d be an obvious potential replacement for Thomas. Janice Rogers Brown was a favorite of Republicans for years but she’s nearly as old as Thomas himself is. Same goes for former Michigan Supreme Court justice Robert Young. A Thomas vacancy might point Trump towards McConnell favorite Amul Thapar; Thapar is Indian, not black, but “the first Indian justice” would at least be a talking point which the White House could use to counter the criticism of having no African-Americans on the Court. Then again, if there’s any president who’s unlikely to care about identity-politics criticism, it’s Trump. So maybe it’ll be Barrett after all.

The post Could Clarence Thomas step down this year? Should he? appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group t-13-300x153 Could Clarence Thomas step down this year? Should he? Trump The Blog Supreme Court SCOTUS ruth bader ginsburg nominee mcconnell Jeffrey Toobin Clarence Thomas amy coney barrett 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com